I had it all

gaby-hinsliff-working-mum-001I just read this article by the former political editor of the Observer Magazine, Gaby Hinsliff, who recently gave up her career to bring up her son. I have been obsessed ever since my first daughter came along about how to “have it all”, and to be honest, I am still looking for the perfect solution, like a lot of us I’m sure…

I think Gaby Hinsliff touches on a lot of interesting points, namely how the recession might actually be an opportunity for us to redefine how we work and what is important to us.

I personally have now decided to go down the freelance option so that I can continue working but can also take long breaks. I earn less than I used to, but have decided that less expensive holidays and clothes are easy to give up for a few years at least. I would love to hear how other woman are coping. Has anyone found the “ideal” solution?

– Emilie


Comments (10)

November 9, 2009

I don’t think so… I love working, but also feel I should pick up my kids from school as much as possible. Still trying to work out the ideal scenario!

November 9, 2009

I had a 12 year career I am extremely proud of. But I am happy to be at home with two children. My husband works long hours. I feel one of us has to be available for the children and I’m happy to have it be me-never a dull moment and lots of laughs. I do fantasize about my next career and I do think often of what that might be. But for now, I am happy with my lifestyle. I am interested to hear what others say….it is a constant debate, an ever-evolving one.

November 10, 2009

“ideal”? hmmmm
well i gave up a lucrative graphic design career to raise my kids. i freelance. it’s great.

designing a coffee table book for the getty art museum is something i feel proud of. BUT hearing my son tell me that he wonders if he’ll still be tickle-ish when he turns 5 (in 2 days) is just a whole lot better than that book… in the big picture.

i fully intend to be there when he wakes up on his 5th birthday…. to test out the tickle!!!

November 10, 2009

Thanks for posting this article. I found it very interesting. Especially the comments on the Guardian piece! People have a lot of opinions. I recently left my corporate job to pursue my creative dreams as a painter with every intention to make money while doing so, do what I love and spend a lot more time with my two kids (5 and 3). So I spend my mornings painting and filling orders and I pick my kids up from preschool at 1:00. Being at home now is challenging (ie. engaging my son while my daughter is napping) but I think my family is benefiting and I am building my business so that when my kids are in school for longer hours, I will be able to continue to do what I love. Good days and bad but overall, I think it’s working out. And somehow we’ve been able to adjust our spending and have not really felt the pinch in the day to day. I’m actually happier to be living with less.

November 10, 2009

Hi! Great topic!
Balancing work and family life is really difficult in Spain. Our working hours are a nightmare and it is really difficult to find a part-time job (unless you’re a civil servant or in jobs not very well paid).
I’m a freelancer. I translate books, so, I have to respect deadlines, but I work whenever I want, provided I can finish the book on time.
So, I am my own boss and I have coffee breaks whenever I want to :). If my child gets a cold, then, I won’t work for some days because I will be with him. Then, I will have to work some evenings to do the work I didn’t do.
When you have deadlines, it is a stressful situation, but the fact that you decide to go to the beach with your son, just because it is sunny and both of you scream for ice-cream is priceless. 🙂

Have a nice day! And go to the beach (well, I guess only if you live Down Under. Here, it’s cold now 🙂

November 10, 2009

There is no such thing as ‘having it all’. That’s a myth that is causing far too many mothers unecessary guilt. Every family has to work out what works for them and not try to aspire to some ‘ideal’ that doesn’t exist.

Marielle Wiesinger
November 10, 2009

Such a difficult topic….I am constantly in awe and wonder of how parents manage. I am a teacher, and I work part time, in a less stressful teaching assignment whereby I work with bright/gifted children in a pull-in challenge centre program. My work load is a lot less than if I had a class of my own, so this helps on the home front. Although my children are 6 and 8, I still want to leave my job and work and home. I find the demands of keeping up with homework, and the busy lives of my kids very demanding. However, I do get 2 months off at summer, two weeks at Christmas, and a week at spring break so that I have a chunk of time to be with the kids. Also, I am not afraid to take “leaves of absences” from my work if I need to travel or be away at times other than major holidays.
I work three days a week, so I can not complain. However, I still find the rigidity of having to be at work a certain time and no flexibility of picking up the kids from school a bit tough. Today, have to miss my son’s Remembrance Day Ceremony that his grade 3 class is putting on, as I am teaching a group. I wonder what it would be like to freelance or work from home and I continually have ideas of how I can work for myself, but at the end of the day, I am paid well and have great benefits (Canada), so I stay!!! I also work in an environment where kids come first, so I am very clear that I can’t take on extra assignments and that my family comes first. My co-workers are very supportive. I believe it is a constant negotiation, balancing act and we all do our best for our children and our families. I often wonder what it will be like for our children when they grow up, and will they have the same concerns?

November 10, 2009

-work part time
-get your partner to work part time too
-do not feel guilty about the few remaining days your children have to go to daycare (they love it any way)
-get somebody else to clean your house, so you can spend your time off with your children
– accept your social life is not going to be at the same level as it was BC (Before Children) (but get a new type of social life: e.g. going out for lunch with friends that have children too)
– enjoy ‘having it all’ even if not all is perfect!
Works for me 🙂

November 16, 2009

It’s such an interesting article, and I think she does such a nice job of describing a life so busy you don’t even have time to soak up the little things.

She describes how she doesn’t have time to pay attention to her friends’ social lives, and doesn’t totally tune in when she’s on the phone with her family and friends. This is something I know I do too, and I’m sure many other mothers do. It’s hard when your plate is so full, to step back and pay better attention to the ‘here and now’.

I agree with Lindsey’s comment above… how there is nothing better than being there for the little moments, the silly things your kids say, the funny things they think and do, etc.

November 17, 2009

Sometimes when I’m working hard wishing I was with the kids instead, I imagine a scenario when I’m 80…will I think back and say “man, if only I worked a little harder when I was 20something….”
Or will I wish I spent more time with my kids when they loved cuddling, putting cheerios in their ears, and waking me up in the morning by holding my nose.
And of course then I know it’s time to leave.

Leave a Comment